COVID-19 Updates and News

If any of you are in self-isolation, or do not have family, or need any other kind of help—related or not to work—let us know. We all have to support each other during this moment.
Emails for your respective VPs are here:
https://3912.cupe.ca/about/officers/

We are all coping with different circumstances, so feel free to reach out to any of the executive regardless of which university you are most affiliated with. Carlos Pessoa, the SMU VP, has kindly volunteered to be a point person for this kind of assistance. His email address is vp.smu.cupe3912@gmail.com.

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March 20
• Research activities have been suspended at Dal and SMU.
• The Mount gave us some guidance about student evaluations earlier this week- essentially they are optional.
• Our president has open lines of communication with the VP Academic at the Mount and SMU, and I am trying to establish the same at Dal. She is hoping this will allow me to help address your concerns more easily, particularly regarding summer courses.
• Here is the link to provincial government information and updates on COVID-19: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/

March 19
• Our bargaining teams have decided to postpone the information sessions scheduled for next week and the vote on the bargaining proposals the week after to give you more time to adjust to our new reality both in terms of your work and family. When the time is right, we will continue with our agenda to Make It Fair in Halifax and Truro. I will let you know.
• Although it appears that the transfer of courses to online delivery is going well this semester (with some exceptions), there have been more concerns over what is happening with spring and summer courses. We are looking into issues regarding this. If you have any concerns or aware of any work-related issues with summer courses, please contact your VP or our president.
• The administration at SMU contacted Karen Harper to clarify some confusion about course evaluations. They state, ‘The Employer agrees to waive requirements under Article 15.04 for this term.’ They further say that PT faculty can use evaluations for formative purposes if they so choose (ie they are optional). Please contact Karen Harper if you wish to see the faculty notice about this.

March 18
• At Dalhousie, the Faculty of Arts and Social Science sent an email with the following message: ‘TAs and Markers should be communicating with instructors to clarify their responsibilities during this difficult transition and should be providing assistance (if required) with end-of-term planning (e.g., moving exams online; compiling final grades; etc.). TA contracts will be honoured financially regardless of whether or not assignments or exams have been cancelled.’ We expect and hope that the last sentence is true for all Dalhousie TAs and Markers.
• HR at SMU encourage us to monitor https://smu.ca/covid19/ for updates as they become available. And they note that we can use the services of The Studio for Teaching and Learning should we require support with our courses.
• Our VP at Dalhousie has been in contact with admin. The message to instructors there is to consider only the barest needs for your class and to deliver only what’s absolutely necessary. They are working on a plan for the exams period and semester end, and give some advice about final exams and alternatives.